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Page:Roy Norton--The unknown Mr Kent.djvu/93

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Marken very faultily. He was a theorist and a reformer. The Markenite wishes neither theory nor reformation. It is a staid, sober, and self-satisfied nation. It is not the most powerful nor the richest nation in the world; but, such as it is, it is. My unfortunate and lamented cousin did not understand it. It did not understand him. "With the very best of intentions, he failed. Failed because he was not adept, as you and I are, Mr. Kent, in financial affairs."

He waited for an instant for this suggestion to sink in, then, satisfied by the twinkle in his visitor's eyes that it had been fully understood, and being thereby emboldened, proceeded in that same gentle, courteous, well-modulated tone that was quite nearly, if not wholly, ingratiating.

"Owing to this mistaken direction of funds, and failure to realise from resources, it will thereby be necessary, regrettable as it may seem at first sight—and at first sight only, Mr. Kent—that Mr. Rhodes' loan be extended, and also that the state be provided with additional funds that it may redeem not only its original bonds, but all others that follow."

Kent was thoughtfully staring upward, but now dropped his eyes to those of his vis-a-vis.

"Quite so," he said, encouragingly.

"It would be—let us say—profitable, for all concerned." The baron's voice had lowered